Irish Independent
Dualta Roughneen

James Leavy in his response (Letters, September 20) to my original letter is somewhat disingenuous to the point I was raising. He also opens the door for further clarifications.

I do not claim that we cannot trust those we have elected, nor do I claim that we can. The issue is that endorsing the Lisbon Treaty will widen the system of checks and balances that exists in our political system, both domestically and internationally.

Our politicians are restrained by laws, and a constitution — the presence of which does not imply a lack of trust in any particular politician, but exists in order to ensure compliance within the boundaries where they are empowered. Rejection of the treaty is a rejection of altering, and, dare I say it, extending those boundaries.

Further, the rejection of the extension is a protection of autonomy which the extension would seriously place at risk by widening the system of checks and balances. The Lisbon Treaty allows for decisions to be taken which would be irreversible, were our representatives to choose to do so, in conferring further competencies to qualified majority voting.

Thus, though we would be able to refuse to re-elect our representatives in a forthcoming election, the decision would remain binding.

Following this, the decisions taken in Europe, whether we were in agreement or not, would be binding if a QMV of 65pc acquiesce. Our representation of 1pc would have very little impact in defending the interests or the views of an Irish electorate under these conditions.

And considering the views aired in France and Holland, in their rejection of the proposed EU Constitution — those “presumably gullible” people from our fellow EU member states — fairness does not imply leaving the EU as we are functioning under a system agreed by the 27 member states.

The accusation levelled at the ‘No’ side, when citing lack of democratic representation in other nations in their ratification processes, is that they have their own agreed means. It will be precisely that which will be levelled at Irish dissenters in a post-Lisbon environment.